View Full Version : CMSA Lane Lines

September 12th, 2003, 04:24 PM
During the course of the USMS convention and getting the opportunity to meet with other newsletter editors, I've come up with an idea that I'd like some honest feedback on. I realize that by doing this, I'm opening myself up to "significant" disagreements within CMSA, but it's a question that I've thought about before and was confirmed by interacting with other newsletter editors from various LMSCs.

Currently, on the yearly registration form, we ask if people wish to receive the newsletter via email.

I'd like to propose the following at the semi-annual meeting next month:

1. That beginning in January 2004, the newsletter be automatically emailed to all CMSA members.
2. If a CMSA member wishes to receive the newsletter via printed mail, then they would have to specifically state that on their membership renewal or new membership application. Additionally, any member who chooses this option with see their dues increase an additional $5/year.

Reasoning: The newsletter as it is, is a huge bi-monthly exprense. As Max presented at the Spring CMSA meeting, we cannot continue to print 6 issues per year without going bankrupt in about 3 years. The default method currently is to send a printed newsletter; what I'm proposing is to make the newsletter default the email version, with members specifically having to ask for a printed version and knowing that their dues will increase to cover the rising costs of newsletter production.

Again, I realize I'm opening on "hot" topic here, but it's one that I feel strongly that after reviewing the CMSA budget from this past Spring and meeting with vaiours newsletter editors, it is a direction that CMSA should be headed towards.

Carl Saxton
Secretary/Newsletter Editor

September 13th, 2003, 10:01 PM
If you make this change, maybe you should emphasize that the newsletter (and older ones in archive) are on the CMSA web site at any time.

September 15th, 2003, 01:48 PM
Don't mess with a Masters Swimmer!


September 27th, 2003, 12:02 PM
I have been a masters swimmer since 1983. It is my recollection that sometime in the mid to late 80's it was voted by CMSA to require all meet directors to mail entry forms for every meet to each registered CMSA swimmer. The system at the time was to mail entry forms to teams to post on their bulletin board. This was deemed inappropriate as not everyone worked out with a team and many swimmers who were potential meet entrants did not receive the information. This past season there was a sanctioned meet which did not meet this requirement: Bartlett Gator's meet which was held at West Chicago High School. Apparently their meet was a late addition so their entry form was not mailed out in the newsletter nor were they required to mail the form themselves. It was, however, sanctioned. Another meet, Saluki Masters, barely met the criteria due to a technological glitch in newletter production (unfortunate, but no one's fault) resulting in a significant delay in the mailing of the newsletter.

I have attended CMSA meetings on a consistent basis for well over ten years and to my recollection the requirement of mailing meet entries was never rescinded. I view this as part of a disturbing trend: thinking that it's OK to discriminate against those who do not communicate electronically.

The proposal before us at the next CMSA meeting is to assess an extra charge to swimmers receiving mailed newsletters. And just what is the justification for charging more to some for the privilege of receiving late and sometimes incomplete information? That it costs more to include everyone? If you're going to raise fees, raise them across the board. I do not think treating certain registered swimmers as second class citizens is in the spirit of "Masters Swimming is for eveyone" and I will definitely vote against this proposal and I encourage other CMSA representatives to do the same.

Not everyone either wants or can afford a computer. The purpose of Masters Swimming is SWIMMING, not imposing one's technological preferences on others. Appropriate matters for our concern are how to have safe, fun and challenging practices and competitions, not how to stick it to folks who are not on the internet.

September 27th, 2003, 01:44 PM

I don't anyone is trying to "stick it" to anyone else.

The newsletter going electronic is the natural evolution of things. When I took over the newsletter a little over 2 years ago, it was all mailed out. Then we started posting it on the web, to then encouraging members to get it electronically. After I realized that due to the size of the newsletter, it was easier for people to simply receive a notice that the newsletter had been posted to the CMSA site. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but we have a little over 1500 registered CMSA swimmers, and of that group, roughly 1/3 of them receive the newsletter via regular mail at a cost of roughly $6000 per issue to print and mail if I remember Max's numbers correctly. This is a HUGE expense and one that CMSA can no longer afford to do at 6 issues per year unless something changes.

I do not want to discourage people from sending in articles, pictures, etc. so the size of the newsletter, at least in my mind, is not an issue. We discussed last year of charging meet directors a fee to have their meet entry posted on the CMSA site and published in the newsletter, and that was shot down rather overwhelmingly.

We are basically left with only a few choices:
-raise the CMSA dues (but if you recall the flack that was generated last year by USMS increasing their dues) to cover the rising costs of publishing a newsletter
-reduce the newsletter to once per quarter (which would be rough on the meet directors or pre-planning the meet schedule as well as cut down dramatically on the overall communication of CMSA)
-raise the CMSA dues for only those members who would still like to receive the mailed version of the newsletter
-leave everything as is it currently and CMSA will cease to exist in roughly 3 years due to no money (again, if I remember Max's numbers correctly)

Let me say again, I am not willing, nor do I have the time to create two separate newsletters (one online and one mailed).

I expect there will be a lot of discussion at the meeting, and I'll have several proposals all dealing with this issue. I look forward to discussing them with you.

Carl Saxton
CMSA Secretary/Newsletter Editor

September 29th, 2003, 12:39 PM
I'm all for saving money. Everyone has access to a computer (library, friends, neighbors, or relatives) and a free email address. My dad is 72 and doesn't own a computer, so my brothers and I check his free yahoo email account every time he asks.

September 29th, 2003, 02:23 PM
Hi, for some reason I cannot post to the USMS forums, but I just read the
comment about electronic posting of the newsletter and meet information.

On our team, we do have some people who do not use computers, or have 24/7
access to the web. We have solved that problem by having one person on the
team(me) responsible for gathering meet information and making it available
to the team. We have a box with the information in it at the entrance of
the Y. If a person cannot make practices, they can just get into the box
and get a copy of the meet information. It has worked well for
us(Champaign McKinley YMCA) and while we don't have very many competitors,
when YMCA people are interested in meets, they know to contact me and I
will get them the information. I have even had some U of I competitors ask
me about meets and have helped them get information. I do this in exchange
for swimming with the Y team for free.

This is a suggestion for teams who have members who cannot access the
files. I think 6000.00 is a ridiculous amount to be spending when this all
could be put on the web. Let the teams take the cost of printing it out
and posting it for their members.


Dorothy Debolt

September 29th, 2003, 06:27 PM
I made a mistake in my numbers. After confirming with Max, the actual cost per newsletter averages out to about $2300 per issue. $2300 x 6 issues = $13,800 spent on printing and mailing the newsletter to those member of CMSA who wish to receive the newsletter this way (545 out of 1573).

September 30th, 2003, 09:15 AM
Not everyone who is CMSA registered is a member of a team. I don't know the numbers, but there are many unattached CMSA swimmers without team resources to call on. Also, not every team provides such outstanding service to their members as the McKinley Y does. Ms. Debolt's volunteering is commendable; if 100% of CMSA members were on teams like this, we wouldn't need to relay on mailed newsletters. I compete as a member of a team which will only send out newsletters to those who are currently paying for a class. I work out with another team which, despite a dynamic leader who puts on an great meet every year, is hardly more than a workout group. How many teams other than McKinley have the resources to provide such services?

If "everyone" has a friend, relative, or neighbor who they can rely on for e-mail communication, then we wouldn't need to rely on printed newsletters. And yet, 545 as of this writing still ask for a mailed copy because it's more convenient for them - they don't have to impose on anyone to receive it and it comes directly to their door. I receive a printed copy because I have an older PC and a low cost ISP so downloading the newsletter is cumbersome.

At the last CMSA meeting our registrar, Pat Sengstock, attributed the high renewal rate CMSA enjoys to the practice of mailing an issue or two of the newsletter to lapsed members. Another thought: if there were to be an additional charge for printed copy this would create extra work for Pat. While excellent, Pat's registration services are not free.

The printed newsletter is a vital communication and marketing tool which ensures that ALL members can be informed of relevant swimming news and information, not just those with the right connections.

September 30th, 2003, 11:56 AM
Here are some more numbers to put out there

Total yearly dues are $34. Of that, only $14 stays with CMSA, the other $20 goes to USMS.

545 members are currently receiving the printed and mailed newsletter (the other 1028 receive e-alerts).
545 members x $14 CMSA dues = $7630

1 issue of the newsletter to print & mail to the 545 CMSAers who’ve requested a hard copy = $2300
6 issues of the newsletter to print & mail to 545 CMSAers who’ve requested a hard copy = $13,800

545 members / $2300 = $4.22 cost per person to print & mail 1 issue
$4.22 x 6 issues = $25.32 cost per person to print & mail 6 issues

$25.32 cost per person to print & mail 6 CMSA newsletters - $14 CMSA dues per person = -$11.32
-$11.32 x 545 CMSAers = -$6169.40

This means that it costs $6169.40 more to print & mail the newsletter to those 545 CMSAers than those 545 CMSAers are paying in yearly CMSA dues. Because of this shortfall between revenue and expenses, the 1028 CMSA members who receive the e-alerts of the newsletter are picking up the tab of $6169.40 for those 545 members who wish to receive a printed & mailed newsletter.

My proposal is to raise the dues of those 545 members by $5/year, which in light of the above, seems more than reasonable.

September 30th, 2003, 05:38 PM
Thanks Carl for posting my e-mail(I think) :)

I think the added fee may be the only solution. Catherine does have a point about there being a need for paper. When we decided to go the route of one person gathering the information, the main complaint was that several did not have access to e-mail. Some of our members are teachers and only have access through school, so holidays and summers caused a problem. I kept a list and sent snail mail to any of these people and I leave notes at the pool for them to see.

My children's age group team is fighting this battle. The coach wants everything electronic, but it just is not reaching all 100 members, so is causing issues.

As far as extra work for Pat, it sounds like there is a list already of members who want it by paper. The fee could be added to the registration process and handled at that time.

We are also lucky at McKinley to have Nadine around. If I have questions, I just ask her!!

September 30th, 2003, 10:45 PM
Okay, I have to join in this discussion.

First of all, Dorothy, you are very welcome. I am glad that you and your team is starting to get more involved with CMSA and competiting more. It nice to see new faces on deck and to see you enjoying the sport of swimming. Anything I can do to help; just ask. And the biggest thanks to you, your son Brian and his team, Champaign Aquachiefs, for letting me race the kids.

Secondly, Catherine, I am the sanction chair of CMSA and I had no knowledge of meet directors to send EVERY CMSA swimmer a meet entry. That is absolutely crazy. But, I will look into it and get back to you at our Semi-Annual meeting.

As for the newsletter, I am for downloading the newsletter off of our website and charging swimmers who want the newsletter via US Postal. I do think we need to look into decreasing the cost of mailing the newsletter. Michigan has a non-profit cost break and other LMSC that mail out their newsletters are using some type of bulk postage discount.

Also, I think (yes, Nadine is thinking again; that is scary)
I think that we can "streamline" the newsletter and maybe use the website for articles to decrease the cost of postage. That doesn't mean that it has to be all business. Just limiting the pages for certain things. And we can use our website as a link. for example: for more info go to: www.cmsaswimming.org

As for getting the word out on swim meets. Entries can be easily downloaded from our website and most pools have a message board. I would suggest that the coaches assist us in posting the meets on the message boards. The meet directors can discuss a way that they want to handle getting their meet entry past out. It's the meet directors responsibility to get the word out on their meet and how they want to promote it.

By the way, I only have 2 meets sanctioned so far. So, meet directors get me your sanction applications in to me ASAP. First come, first serve for dates.

November 25th, 2003, 03:48 PM
I was unable to make the CMSA meeting in October and was not aware that a decision had been made on increasing the dues in 2005 for everyone. $3 is not that big of a deal for me - so I wouldn't complain about the money. I just really wonder how it was justified to raise the fee for everyone.

I do find it disturbing that so much paper is wasted mailing all of the entry forms out each time a newsletter comes out. Does CMSA really need to spend money on this? Does this somehow increase participation at the meets?


November 25th, 2003, 04:17 PM
Hi, Lizzie,

I'm sorry that you were unable to attend the October CMSA meeting. The next newsletter will be posted shortly and includes the minutes of that meeting and the treasurer's report. CMSA is running deficit spending of about $6000 per year, largely due to the cost of printing and mailing the newsletter to those who have not indicated that they will accept email notification.

We hope that the letter included in this year's registration will encourage folks to accept email notification of the newsletter posting, rather than snail mail of the newsletter.

We have about 500 people who still receive the print newsletter. Some of them do not have computer access, or have other reasons for prefering the print copy.

Making the entry forms available to everyone in CMSA definitely increases attendance at our meets. Entry forms were cited as the one thing that was desired to be kept in the newsletter.

Another option suggested was to increase the dues only for those who receive print copies, but this was deemed to be very confusing for our registrar, coaches and others who take care of collecting dues.

You can help by telling all your swimming buddies to mark the email option on their renewal forms and provide a legible email address.


Mary Pohlmann, President CMSA